Feature: Inside the E-Book Production Process
Digital-only titles are sometimes overseen by editors who also produce print books, in those cases where the digital products are related to or an offspring of a print imprint. Harlequin's historical fiction line, for instance, includes digital-only novellas written by the same authors who produce print fiction in the genre. Books published by Harlequin's digital-only Carina Press, however, are managed by a separate team of editors.
By the time a book has been rendered in PDF form, it has been checked and re-checked several times; still, ePubs are subjected to a separate quality control process to catch formatting errors or typos. Communication is such that any errors caught are also corrected on the original PDF file before it is sent to the printer. "Our goal at all times is to make sure the e‑book matches the print book, or is better than," Bullough says. All e‑book quality control is handled in-house, but separate from previous copyediting and proofreading, "so you have a more objective eye looking at the final ePub."
Nearly all front-list print books are converted in house, she says, and digital-first titles are outsourced, though Harlequin plans to bring that process in-house eventually. Backlist conversion also is outsourced. In the early days of e‑books, Harlequin did its metadata tagging in-house, but has since handed that job over to an outside vendor, which set up an Onyx feed to deliver all titles to retailers.
"We started off doing a lot of things internally that we now outsource, and we started off outsourcing lot of things that we now do internally," Bullough says. "So it's really just a matter of building our expertise and deciding where the best fit is in order to deliver the most [content], to have more seamless distribution to the retailer and to the end consumer, and offer the best quality to them."